tv [untitled] July 5, 2013 6:00am-6:31am PDT
to be eye level. you cannot have it like that. you have to have a portion of the counter down level. it is 34 inches. i daresay most of the counters will not be that size if you have a business like that. however it may be. that is not what the normal business layout is. tables. there is a percentage based on the number of seats that have to be wheelchair-a accessible. they are required to be appropriately designated with a placard. you can get that any press run supply store.
in place with commercial interiors can furnish you with those placards. you also have to have a sign out front that your business is wheelchair accessible. and various signing issues. each one of those things you do not have if someone must use to you is a separate claim. the statutory damages are $4,000. a person can come back three times and see three different wheelchair-accessibility issues, that is nine claims. the attorneys' fees are only recoverable -- only the plaintiff has the ability to get the attorneys' fees. if you fight a lawsuit and win, you do not get attorneys' fees. is a one-sided statute. the policy is to promote access.
one of the issues for a merchant to look at is your least. virtually every commercial lease, what ever the business maybe come up switches to the tenants all responsibility for code compliance. what that means is coming you have to indemnify the landlord on the insurance or the least, or any money that the landlord may have a. clearly, the landlord -- the lease does not stop the plaintiff from suing the landlord. therefore, the attorney for the plaintiff is going to target the person they are getting the money from. it does not let the tenant of the hot. the tenants in their lease is
contractually responsible to the landlord. there are ways that can be dealt with between the landlord and the tenant. i have represented landlords. i have represented tenants. at some point, i represented both because they have a common interest even in that. obviously, they both have to make the space accessible either now or later, so it is best that they work together if they can. and work together to save us -- to hire a single lawyer. they can make repairs or what ever is in their agreement. sometimes, when the tenant is the small business and does not have much cash flow, one way to do is to renegotiate the lease, where the cost is amortized over a longer period time.
it is another way to spread the payments back to the less financially available person. would you do if you get one of these notices? if you have not had your property inspected already, or if you do not do it following this program -- which i recommend you do -- you should have an inspection by an architect who is familiar with ada issues. we call all of these laws ada, but really ada is one aspect of the federal laws. there are five or six statutes, depending on the specifics of the case. there are a series of overlapping laws, all of which require essentially the same thing. did different measures of damages and other things. the lawyers will sue you on these various labels.
they all really say the same thing. the purpose of that letter is to establish damages. the first thing to do when you get that letter is to have your place it inspected. if you have done so, let the person know that you have had the place inspected. that makes the case go away. certainly, it lessens the likelihood you were going to be sued. if you need more time, talk to the tenants or talk to the person suing you, sending you the letter. get some additional time. they do not have elyria. what you need to do is find out what your rights are, and if you need to make repairs or
remediations, do it because you are going to have to do it sometime during the course of litigation if there is a problem with access to your premises, so long as the renovations are readily achievable. if it does not so much cost that it is so excess of for the amount of revenue being generated for your business, you have to make -- the way to look at it is let's say it takes $50,000 to renovate or remedy a the property for business. if your business is generating $100,000 a year in revenues, you clearly are not going to come up with $50,000 to make the changes, at least not in year one. but some of it you can do in year one. that percentage is not in a fixed amount. that usually gets 15% of your
gross revenues could be assessed as being available to you to make these repairs. they will aggregate that over time, so if you cannot make all your repairs in year one, you can make some, but it may take you three or four years before you have to make the changes, but there is no defense to making the changes. even if it is a historical building. that is not a defense. when i get involved, it is because 90% of the time, the tenant is the only one who gets the notice, though the notice is addressed both to the tenant and landlord. next thing you see, you are handed a piece of paper by some stranger, and it is a lawsuit. then you need to find a lawyer.
probably 90% of these cases are in federal court. it becomes much more costly to get a lawyer involved. most lawyers charged somewhere between $5,000 or $10,000 to get involved in some of these cases. you need to file a formal answer in the court. you will be in a mediation process, which means you will meet with people appointed by the court to try to resolve this issue. the revolution is just what i said. it is major repairs if they are appropriate, and not all repairs are in demand. and, to settle the damaged portion of the case. in my experience, the damages claimed usually run somewhere
between $15,000 or $5,000, and attorneys fees generally run between $10,000 or $15,000. my colleague over year has learned that the attorneys fees are $4,000, and they have not got past mediation. there is not even discovery until you finish mediation. ultimately, if you do not resolve these cases, it is a jury trial. you're looking at the fees and costs that will be substantially in excess to $100,000. it is much better to look at your property today, have it inspected, and make the changes because this is a civil rights statute. it is the same thing as
discrimination based on race, and it is treated the same way in the courts. >> i heard the previous speaker make some good points about be a pro are the -- proactive about getting a task inspector before you get sued. i am f. task inspector. if you have to cut -- heard the term thrown around, inspection created by our state senators, and it is really great information out there that i want to encourage everyone. i will not be able to go into extensive details, but i will be able to tell you a little bit of what is involved.
the difference is in the california building code. i can also give you tips on how to choose and specter appeared first of all, the program has an inspector's knowledge of the california building code, and the reason why that is so important is because you have to comply with both. the california billing code is enforced when you get a building permit, and forced by the local building requirements. it says all new buildings have to be totally accessible. it also says that new buildings when you do an alteration course have to be accessible when you do a project. there's a big difference between a big project and a little project. a big project is going to be not as accessible as a new building, but a smaller project actually has a smaller level of access required in the california building code.
you might think that because you got a building permit that that means that everything is good and you are complying with the ada, but it is actually the difference in the building code because its is even if you have an existing building and have not done any improvements to that building, that you still have a continuing obligation to be going through your business and building and taking constructive steps to remove the barriers. the ada gives us some guidance on that. readily achievable says it can be done quickly and easily without a whole lot of steps. feasible means that it may require a lot more money, a lot
more alteration to get that done. under the ada, you need to be surveying your property and putting together both a short- term plan and a long-term plan. the short term plan is going to be the readily achievable solution. the long-term plan could take 20 years. i do not know. your business might not be making huge profits. you may need to be saving money for the long term. but it is your obligation to plan for the long term as well as the short term. the ada has a set of priorities that guide you on how you will be serving your property. the ada says a certain party of getting in the front door, but you are logical, you want your customers to access your
, be that ramps, if the door is not wide enough, if the landing is not level enough. priority two is actually travel. once you get into your business and start speculating the wits of your files. access to all of your services. [inaudible] rearranging furniture. that is something we would call readily achievable, if you move your table out of the way to allow a person with a wheelchair access to your space. restroom facilities only come into play after you have already made the entrance accessible and you have trouble accessible. restaurants only have to be accessible if they are available to your customers and clients.
and actually does not cover employee access to the restrooms. we have other priorities that come into play. [inaudible] you want that inspected to come out before you get a that letter. it is not only your obligation, but it is the right thing to do. you want to be disability accessible. you want more customers. the best way to do that is to start planning. when you are choosing, ideally, your inspector would have a background in inspection, design, and construction. that means we have some excellent general contractors out there that could be
excellent task inspectors or building inspectors as well. in order to get the legal benefits, the protections that are important, you want your inspection to be under that theory that is how you can get that 90-day [inaudible] as you start to interview your inspectors, i would ask them to a lot of questions. do not rely on just the resume. what you're really need to do is ask a series of probing questions. you want to know what their area of expertise is, how many times -- you want to ask them if they have any references, and if you
follow through on those references, you should call the people and have a heart to heart conversation. [inaudible] you also want to ask to see a copy of the tass report. some recommendations that i think are pretty basic. you want to make sure that the inspector is pulling a full building permits. it is being felt as how accessible it should have been in the past. it is the context. you also want to make sure [inaudible] because we all are very visual people. you are going to be working on problems. you want to be able to see it.
they should also be following the party's in the ada -- the priorities in the ada. your task report should also be giving you some constructive solutions. they should be tailoring it to your very specific circumstances. [inaudible] also, you want to make sure that your task inspector has a relationship with an attorney. it could be beneficial to have
that legal expertise readily at hand. the task inspector may have learned some useful information. it is also helpful if your task inspector knows the contractor because the contractor can provide you with a construction bid for what is going to take. so i want to leave you with some closing thoughts. one of them, as mentioned at the beginning -- be proactive. do not wait for the letter. get the inspection now. the second is keep really good records. [inaudible] they had actually been doing work over the years. they have been removing barriers. but because they were not keeping good files documenting the reasons why they widened a door or replace the hardware or
remodel the bathroom, tracking exactly how much money they spend, they do not get a whole lot of credit for the work they have done so far. but you also want to keep good records tissue products you will be taking on in the future. maybe you cannot remove that step this year or next year. maybe it will take you five years to get there. but you are providing yourself protection. >> good evening. we have a loan fund for small business owners facing ada compliance issues. opportunity fund is a non-profit organization sponsored by
[inaudible] to help small businesses that could not obtain a loan from their banks. we created a loan program for small businesses who are trying to become compliant. under this loan program, we can provide financing for small businesses up to $100,000. those are the small businesses who have been sued, and there are small businesses trying to preempt of a protect themselves against these issues. i will talk about the second rocket first. for the small businesses out there that have been hearing about compliance issues and what to protect themselves and make the improvement and have inspections done, we are willing
to work with you and willing to look at the plans that you have any inspections you have to enable you to have tenant improvement to become compliant. for those folks, we would recommend that you go and get a task report done and see whether the contractor can lay out the plan and complete the requirement and then come to us and show us your plan. [inaudible] and have had complaints against them because of compliance, we are also able to work with your peer the fundamental requirement for those is that we need you to finish the lawsuit or settle the lawsuit before we can work with you in terms of
providing financing. the reason for that is the conversations and these issues can go on for a long time, and we want to make sure that you fundamentally understand what you need to comply with and what are your obligations as part of the settlement of the lawsuit. obviously, it can cost a lot of money. we have provided financing before. it is a lot of money. so come and talk to the office of small business and make sure you have professionals and task inspectors and contractors lined up so that we can be part of that conversation in terms of helping you maintain your business and helping to stay in business despite the fact that a
lot of businesses are being regulated by now. if you have questions, my information is in the packet. we are more than happy to field any questions, but again, because there are different parts of this whole saga, we are all in different parts in terms of financing, but the loan program will be available. it will be available until the ada compliance issues are no longer there. >> thank you. any questions? [inaudible] we do have legal expertise and individuals with our mayor's office of disability.
if you do have any questions at all about things that you might have heard about or issues you are facing, it might be the opportunity to ask questions. any questions? >> thanks, supervisor. sorry for being late. i heard the gentleman say that the help for small business maximum is $100,000. someone else mentioned a repayment plan. a sort of interest rate and so on and so on.
business people show up here. a lot of restaurants and small businesses, and i am certain those members are very interested in this program. i myself have been faithful so long. that is why i am interested. hopefully i will be able to learn something and pass on to the people who need my assistance. if there's any way the supervisor would be able to generate a little more activity, maybe the location might not be perfect for the small orders to attend, and hopefully, we have another similar occasion to notify all those people to
attend. but thanks so much for being here. thank you. >> yes, so, the typical loan for small businesses, these compliance issues, the term depends on the loan amounts. the most we can do -- in terms of other qualifications, again, this is a loan program, loan fund. these are not grants. they are credits. we will look at the capacity to avoid loan payments and also the totality of the situation, taking into consideration whether there are legal fees or remediation fees that need to be paid. but i will say that we want to be an alternative for folks that cannot obtain financing from a bank. this may be a combination of that.
maybe they need to go to a bank and get something and we can fill the rest or if they get decline by a bank, we can come in and assist with financing. >> [inaudible] you can only do so much to get people here. that is why we are asking for help from not only our media partners, but those of you in the room. people do not often come to ask for assistance until they are hit with a lawsuit. until they receive a complaint letter or a threat of being sued, they do not take the issue very seriously. by that time, a lot of your investments are gone. you will be exposed to lawyer's fees, exposed to having to make copier repairs immediately. these are all things that are very hard for small businesses to weather. what we are trying to promote today is the fact that you can
protect yourself as a small business if you are private about it. it is a hard mentality to get people to think about, but that is what we're hoping people will accomplish. we know if you get inspections and that you really put together a plan, that over time, we might not be able to do it today, we might not be able to do it in one year, but if we can make changes over five years or 10 years, that really helps to improve accessibility issues. that is something that is really helpful going forward pierre the other issue that was mentioned is the fact that if you are a business that has received [inaudible] from a certified individual, you received a 90-day stint. the things that would not be counted for peer you can help to remedy the problem and get help, so that your liability at the end of the day is a very small one, hopefully.
we know we will be heard from from our experts on a legal side. a lot of them can really add up here this gentleman again had heard about a situation where someone had already racked up $40,000 with of legal fees. became an issue. we are not talking about what it costs to fix up which in itself would be excess of, but also the legal component. your word of mouth and the people you know will really help. and, of course, to our media folks, people will read your articles and understand that they can really do a lot to protect their businesses early on. >> i just want to add one comment about getting our association involved. we put together a really great training. we have a panel available to you.